Monday, February 24, 2014

Review: The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

The Grand Sophy
Published: Originally in 1950 (my edition was 2004)
Length: 328 pages

Blurb:  When the redoubtable Sir Horace Stanton-Lacy is ordered to South America on business, he leaves his only daughter Sophy with his sister in Berkeley Square. Newly arrived from her tour of the Continent, Miss Sophia Stanton-Lacy invites herself into the circle of her relatives, the Ombersleys, and Charles Rivenhall, the Ombersley heir, vows to rid his family of her by marrying her off. But vibrant and irrepressible Sophy was no stranger to managing delicate situations. After all, she'd been keeping opportunistic females away from her widowed father for years. But staying with her relatives could be her biggest challenge yet.

When Lady Ombersley agrees to take in her young niece, no one expects Sophy, who sweeps in and immediately takes the ton by storm. Beautiful, gay, impulsive, shockingly direct, Sophy swept into elegant London society and scattered conventions and traditions before her like wisps in a windstorm. But Sophy discovers that her aunt's family is in desperate need of her talent for setting everything right: her uncle is of no use at all, the ruthlessly handsome cousin Charles has tyrannical tendencies that are being aggravated by his grim fiancee; lovely cousin Cecelia was smitten with an utterly unsuitable suitor, a poet; cousin Herbert was in dire financial straits; and the younger children are in desperate need of some fun and freedom, and she's arrived just in time to save them all.

She became the mainstay of her hilariously bedeviled family, as a horsewoman, social leader and above all, as an ingenious match-maker. Using her signature unorthodox methods, Sophy set out to solve all of their problems. By the time she's done, Sophy has commandeered Charles's horses, his household, and finally, his heart. Could it be that the Grand Sophy had finally met her match...?

My Review: ****--4 Stars
The Regency period is fascinating to me. All of the balls and etiquette really attract my interest. In this story, Sir Horace visits his sister and tells her that he is sending his daughter to stay with her for a time. No one expects Sophy. She is bright, witty, daring, and completely goes against the grain. She brings the younger children in the family a pet monkey. Really...who does that? She buys herself a phaeton and races it like no other. She doesn't act prim, proper, and shy, like most of the other girls her age. There's no one she irritates more than her cousin, the one in control of the finances and properties--Charles. And annoy him she does!

I enjoy a character such as Sophy. She really could care less what people think of her. She does what she has to do to help those around her, even if she finds herself in unusual and seemingly dangerous situations. One of those situations was my favorite--I loved it when she went to visit the money lender. The way she handled him had me laughing out loud--especially when $$$ finds out. She's a busybody, trying to manage and arrange the lives of all those around her, yet she does it in an almost endearing way. She's a master of reverse psychology and really knows how people work.

Charles is so stuffy and uptight, yet we get a glimpse of why he is the way he is and it all makes sense. Still, I felt that sometimes Sophy acted the way she did just to get a reaction out of him. She seemed to love to catch him with his own words and turn them against him.

All in all, a perfectly delightful book that really shows the Regency period at its finest.

Content: some mild language, no intimate scenes, no real violence. Clean.

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